Jerome Ford NFL Draft 2022: Scouting Report for Cincinnati RB

Jerome Ford NFL Draft 2022: Scouting Report for Cincinnati RB

Ian Johnson/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

HEIGHT: 5’10¾”

POSITIVES

— Above-average build for the position. Runs with good power and play strength to run through arm and side tackles.

— Understands how to tempo his pace on run plays. Will press the hole to set up blocks and get second-level defenders to commit. Has more than enough burst to accelerate through holes.

— Runs with a good, wide base, which allows him to stay consistently balanced when cutting. Keeps shoulders square to the line of scrimmage.

— Has quick feet and tight footwork when jump-cutting to find a hole.

— Good long speed. Can pull away from defenders and create explosive plays when he gets a runway.

—.Good hands in the passing game.

— Willing blocker in pass protection.

NEGATIVES

— Route running has consisted mostly of checkdowns.

— Not overly shifty making defenders miss in tight spaces.

2021 STATISTICS

215 ATT, 1,319 YDS (6.1 AVG), 19 TD, 21 REC, 220 YDS, 1 TD

NOTES

— 2021 first-team All-AAC.

— Transferred in 2020 from Alabama.

OVERALL

Jerome Ford has the overall talent and skill set to be a three-down running back in the NFL. He plays with proper tempo on various run concepts and knows how to help out his blockers by pressing the hole and making defenders commit downhill. But he doesn’t get caught up in the wash when pressing, showing vision and knowing when to put his head down and get forward.

Ford shows the burst and long speed to take advantage of the holes created. He is able to quickly get to the next level when he decides to get north. He consistently runs with good balance, footwork and a strong base. That allows him to quickly get in and out of his cuts when he decides to plant his foot, and he also has enough strength to run through arm and side tackles and create more yards after contact.

Ford has legitimate home run speed to take runs the distance when he’s given a crease, but he also has enough awareness to take advantage of the singles and doubles that are blocked for him. He shows natural hands when serving as a receiver out of the backfield as well, looking comfortable when the ball does come his way. He is also a willing blocker when asked to work in pass protection.

Ford doesn’t have overwhelming size and is more solidly built. He will have to be paired with another back to help with the touches to maximize his skill set. He also has limited experience working from the backfield. While he has good hands, he was asked to run a simplistic route tree mostly consisting of checkdowns with the occasional wheel route.

Ford will also have to continue to hone in on the mental side of pass protection. He brings good physicality when blocking, but he can be a step slow in recognizing his assignment.

Overall, Ford is a balanced runner who can be effective in any type of run scheme. He understands how to take advantage of his blockers but also brings juice to the position to create explosive plays. He will need to continue to refine his route running and pass protection to become a true three-down back, but he has flashes already of being able to contribute on passing downs.

Ford would be best paired with another back to split touches and ease some of his workload due to his lack of overwhelming size. But he has the athleticism and skill set to be a starting back for most NFL teams, one who can be an effective, explosive featured player in the run game.

GRADE: 7.5 (Potential Impact Player – 2nd Round)

PRO COMPARISON: Kareem Hunt

Written by B/R NFL Scout Nate Tice

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